As the iconoclastic business book Rework affirms, "A business without a path to profit isn't a business, it's a hobby." Here are five concrete steps towards paving a path to professional Tarot reading business that stands out and attracts clients.
1. Web presence – You need to have a homebase where you can point potential clients. Web-based Tarot readers no longer need pay exorbitant fees for a classy or inviting website. In fact, knowledge of html isn’t even required to get your business up and running within 24-hours.
One company, Homestead, uses “drag and drop” WYSIWYG technology, meaning you don’t need to know html to use it (although knowledge of basic coding can enhance your web presence by embedding widgets, videos, social media tools and more). For less than $30 a month you get a downloadable SiteBuilder that allows you to edit your website online or off. And the good news is that if your computer crashes, no published material is ever lost. Even better, Homestead will create custom PayPal buttons for all your services.
However, it’s just as viable to use a blog as your web presence, often for free. Blog sites like http://typepad.com/, http://blogger.com/ and http://wordpress.com/ all provide custom templates, and have affordable paid subscriptions should you want to trick out your blog beyond a simple, free site.
Beware of hitching your Tarot pro wagon to another organization’s “guild”, “town”, “house” or “portal”, though: if an organization is catering to Tarot pros, then you’re preaching to the choir (and won’t get much business).
If that’s all you have, for now, at least check out their visitor stats via http://alexa.com/ Are they growing? Do they even have eyeballs visiting their site? (Being a windbag touting “growth” doesn’t mean squat; anyone can say anything on the web, doesn’t mean it’s true…especially if they can profit from you and your business via subscriptions). What is their reputation?
Make sure you have an engaging bio on your website, preferably with a professionally photographed headshot. It’s true that you can use some pretty, mystical picture to represent yourself, but I’ve found that client’s are much more comfortable ordering a reading from someone with actual eyes to look into, a smile to respond to and a physical “vibe” to evaluate. In short, it’s personal and transparent.
You can use social media tools (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) to promote your business and engage with potential clients, but only do so when you have the basics covered AND you know how to use social media without sounding like an obnoxious carnival barker.
2. Testimonials page – How will a potential client know if you’re any good? Whether you have actual experience? A Testimonials page will help your skill speak for itself. Ask anyone you’ve ever read for—free or for a fee—to give you feedback on your reading. Every time I send out an email Tarot reading, I say “Please let me know if you have any questions or need any clarification, as well as how accurate you found this reading to be.” Your client’s answer can be a testimonial you can add to your page.
If you do this consistently, over time, you’ll have a testimonials page with dozens of recommendations. No only is this the best advertisement for your abilities, but it also gives potential client’s a feel for your style. (For example, do friends, family or clients always commend you for your empathy? Accuracy? Diplomacy? Incisiveness? Pull-no-punches delivery? Practicality? Foresight? Friendliness?) Click here to see how I’ve created my Testimonials page.
3. PayPal buttons – You need to use PayPal or some other system for clients to pay you easily, securely and quickly. If a potential client is debating between two Tarot readers that seem equal, ease of pay may very well be what separates a contemplated order from a completed one. Sign up for a premium account at http://paypal.com/ and, after approval, add buttons to your site. Even if you’re intimidated by trying to copy and paste coding, you can at least list your PayPal email address on your site so clients can send your fee through email.
When setting your fees, make sure your prices are commensurate with your experience. If you’re just starting out professionally, don’t price your readings past $50 (via email) or $.99 a minute (if you read via phone). Get some experience under your belt before you price yourself parallel to the big girls (or boys).
4. Ethics page – You need to state, up front, what you will—and will not—do during and after a Tarot reading. To get an idea of what an Ethics page looks like, click here to read mine. If you’re up front with the kind of readings you enjoy doing—and the ones you will absolutely NOT do because you’re not qualified or comfortable doing so—you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches by having an Ethics page on your site.
5. Types of Readings Your Offer – Decide up front if you’re going to charge per issue, per question or per spread. Keep your offered readings simple, clear and brief. I can’t stress this enough. If you need convinced, consider this passage, based on experimental data, from one of my favorite social psychology books The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less:
“A large array of options may discourage consumers because it forces an increase in the effort that goes into making a decision. So consumers decide not to decide, and don’t buy the product. Or if they do, the effort that the decision requires detracts from the enjoyment derives from the results. Also, a large array of options may diminish the attractiveness of what people ACTUALLY choose, the reason being that thinking about the attractions of some of the unchosen options detracts from the pleasure derived from the chosen one.”
In other words, however you decide to create and price your readings, make your options simple and few—or you may contribute to a “no sale” or eventual “buyer’s remorse”. Click here to see how I’ve structured my readings to give you an idea.
In this economic climate, consumers—your potential clients—want to get a lot of bang for their buck. Make it easy on them to order a Tarot reading—then make sure you over-deliver, exceeding their expectations.